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Marketing Attribution 101: Meet Your Customer At Their Preferred Channel

Customers have more channels to engage with brands than ever before. And, they are engaging with brands across multiple touchpoints – before even making a purchase. Additionally, increased online competition and new consumer expectations accelerated by the pandemic have continued to drive up customer acquisition costs. This means it’s critical for marketers to have a well-balanced and calculated strategy in place. And that starts with using data to understand the elements and timing of your campaign that drive the greatest response. This will increase ROI by helping to balance spend by the channel between acquisition expense and long-term value. 

To accurately measure effectiveness, marketers need to weigh the value of touchpoints driving engagement across different channels.

Enter Marketing attribution.

Marketing attribution delivers a deeper, more precise understanding of consumer engagement and how to best optimize campaigns by leveraging the touchpoints that generate the most ROI. 

Breaking Down Different Marketing Attribution Models

There are a variety of marketing attribution models out there as different types of businesses have different challenges in attributing response. A standard recommendation is to choose an attribution model based on your businesses’ unique sales cycle, the insights the model provides, as well as the impact of the insights on campaign efforts. 

For shorter sales cycles, first-touch and last-touch attribution models are commonly used, whereas the models become more complex the longer the sales cycle.

PREDICTIONS SERIESFor example, there is U-shaped attribution that credits the first and last touchpoints as the most critical in the customer journey. And then there is W-shaped attribution, which is very similar to the U-shape, but adds a third prong of the analysis, allocating greater value to the mid-funnel touchpoint where a consumer becomes a lead. Another model commonly used is a linear attribution model. This model takes into account every touchpoint in the sales cycle, assigning equal value to all touchpoints and provides deeper insights into the overall customer journey.

Omnichannel Marketing Attribution

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It’s important to note that there are overlaps with every tracking and attribution method and there is rarely a pure example of vertical performance.

By far, the more effective strategy tends to not isolate individual channels against each other, pitting them as challengers for a limited marketing budget.

Rather, it measures cumulative spend across channels into a segment or population (linear vs. touchpoint attribution). By doing this, we are better able to identify which touchpoint, at what time, in a combined campaign yields the best result. Another key feature of this cumulative attribution is to allocate spend to more valuable segments as opposed to less productive groups so that each targeted group receives their appropriate portion of the budget rather than all prospects and customers treated equally.

While it’s crucial to make use of the various tracking tech and attribution methods to help with response analysis, we must also continue to explore and test for best practices in all channels.  The goal is to learn to apply them in varying combinations, frequencies, and costs based on predicted value, driven by data modeling.  

Recent experience over the past year has clearly reinforced the need for continued testing and refinement in all channels across all segments in order to keep in touch with evolving shifts and trends in consumer behavior.

Looking forward

The pandemic shifted customer purchasing behavior and preferences significantly in most categories of direct marketing. We are working across a broad range of market categories, trying to understand how persistent these new behaviors are and how to best optimize for sales and performance. It’s training us to be more adaptive and flexible to change. 

As consumers explore even more channels and companies adopt new marketing technologies, attribution becomes crucial to centering your strategy around a common goal: ROI. By combining attribution models and adopting omnichannel marketing attribution, marketers can get top-down and bottom-up insights that provide the greatest opportunity to optimize campaigns. 

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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